b. 14/04/1931 Colton, California. d. 21/12/2013 Fayetteville, North Carolina.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 31/05/1951 Wontong-ni, Korea.
Hernández, a Mexican-American, was one of eight children born to a farmworker. At a young age his family moved from Colton where Hernandez was born, to Fowler, California, where he received his primary education. In 1948, when he was 17 years old, he joined the United States Army with his parents' consent.
After completing his basic training, Hernández volunteered for paratrooper school. Upon the completion of his paratrooper training he was sent to Germany, where he was stationed until the outbreak of the Korean War.
Hernández married and had three children. He retired from a job at the Veterans Administration and lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Carteret County Veterans Council named Hernandez one of two grand marshals of its November 11, 2006, annual Veterans Day Parade held in downtown Morehead City. On November 10, 2007, he was again co-grand marshal of the Morehead City Veterans Day Parade. During the event, he was reunited with his rescuer "from a long and far away battlefield," the former Korean War Army medic and current Morehead City resident, Keith Oates.
Cpl. HERNANDEZ, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. HERNANDEZ, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative. Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. HERNANDEZ rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet. Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground. The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. HERNANDEZ reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: SANDHILLS STATE VETERANS CEMETERY, SPRING LAKE, NC.
Section 4D, Plot 200